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Apple patent application explores using social networks for automatic metadata

Apple filed a patent application for a method to get and add metadata to files automatically using social networks. Because who wants to sit around entering it manually?


Apple has filed a patent application that describes a method for obtaining and adding metadata to files automatically using the Internet and various social networks.

The process, filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (discovered by AppleInsider), shows Apple's continued interest in creating connections with social networks by inventing a way for users to automatically update their files using data obtained online.

Apple's method, titled "Automatic Discovery of Metadata," seeks to solve an issue that many of us do not likely even know we have. Metadata on files already includes common entries such as date of creation, location-based data, user-defined tags and keywords, and other device-specific information.

Other metadata identified by Apple includes "color, texture, face detection, image recognition output, and voice recognition metadata."

Because devices vary in what data will automatically be added to a file (for example, a camera without GPS functionality cannot add metadata for the location of your photos) users are not able to accurately fill out information about their files without painstaking steps.

Apple's solution is to sift through various other apps, including your calendar programs, social networks, and other data-heavy programs to find shared data characteristics. For example, if a photo was taken at a certain time without GPS, Apple could search your calendar to see where you might have been, thus adding location data to your file.

Similarly, Apple could search a social-network feed, like Twitter or Facebook, to find references for photos and other instances that could apply metadata to various files. For example, Apple could search your Facebook feed for references to a user in a video. That data, once confirmed by the user, could be applied to the metadata of that video file.

As Apple becomes increasingly mobile (and social), creating more dynamic files for its users will help Apple be more social without having to create its own social network.

Would you let Apple search your other apps and social networks to add metadata to your photos, videos, and other files? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!